FTC asks court to hold Martin Shkreli in contempt for launching a new pharmaceutical company

FTC asks court to hold Martin Shkreli in contempt for launching a new pharmaceutical company

Martin Shkreli, who you may know as “Pharma Bro,” launched a new company last year called “Druglike, Inc.” Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked a federal judge to hold him in contempt for failing to cooperate with the agency in its investigation to determine whether the company’s launch violates its lifetime industry ban. US District Court Judge Denise Cote placed Shkreli on a lifetime ban barring him from participating in the pharmaceutical industry early last year. Cote ruled that the former pharmaceutical executive orchestrated an illegal antitrust scheme to gain a monopoly on Daraprim, a lifesaving antimalarial and antiparasitic drug.

After Shkreli’s former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, obtained the license to manufacture Daraprim, it raised prices for the drug from $17.50 to $750 per tablet. Cote sided with the FTC in the antitrust lawsuit the agency filed against Shkreli in 2020, ordering him to pay $64.6 million in damages, as well as imposing a lifetime industry ban on him. Prior to the release of Druglike, Shkreli tried (unsuccessfully) to convince a judge to suspend the ban, arguing that the public could benefit from his future contributions to the industry. Shkreli challenged the ban while serving time in federal prison after receiving a seven-year sentence in 2017 for defrauding investors. He was released in May.

The FTC said it began asking Shkreli for a compliance report and access to relevant records, as well as asking him to attend an interview about Druglike, in October 2022. However, the company co-founder continued to ignore his “repeated requests.” . The agency also said that Shkreli has yet to pay any amount of his $64.6 million fine. He is now asking the court to order Shkreli to comply with his requests for information within 21 days of his decision.

In a press release (PDF) for its launch, Druglike described itself as “a Web3 drug discovery software platform.” The company said it is building a “decentralized computing network” that “provides resources for anyone looking to start or contribute to early-stage drug discovery projects.” In a statement, Shkreli said that “Druglike will remove barriers to early-stage drug discovery, increase innovation, and allow a broader group of contributors to share in the rewards.”

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